Hands-On Impressions: Sonic Frontiers – EGX 2022
A lot has been said about the new direction of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Not only in terms of how it looks and plays, but also in the new world direction. Playing Sonic in 3D is nothing new, in fact, it’s been a part of the series since Sonic 3D. However, many will argue that the series is at its best when in 2D. That being said, the Sonic Adventure games of the SEGA Dreamcast era also have a strong case to argue.
We got our first proper look at the gameplay of Sonic Frontiers a little earlier in the year. It’s fair to say that it never made a great first impression. While the Breath of the Wild-inspired world looks decent at a quick glance, the more we saw of its gameplay, the more the seed of doubt began to unravel. Low-quality textures, a stuttering framerate and texture pop-ins were just a few of fans’ concerns.
Sonic Frontiers – arriving November 8, 2022! pic.twitter.com/jjaMDOSTdy
— Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) August 23, 2022
PREVIOUS GAMEPLAY TRAILERS FAILED TO IMPRESS
Thankfully, I got to play Sonic Frontiers at EGX 2022 and while the gameplay demo only lasted about 10-15 minutes, I at least had some idea as to whether this game was going to be as bad as some feared. Here are my hands-on impressions of Sonic Frontiers.
When thrown into the world, it instantly felt familiar with what I have seen in previous gameplay videos. The world was green and full of stone structures and alien-like enemies. There were plenty of grind rails that lured you in with a collection of golden rings welcomed with that ionic chime. There were other higher-to-reach areas to collect fragments which appear to help unlock other areas later in the game.
SONIC FRONTIERS IS TRYING SOMETHING NEW
After running around for a few minutes, I receive a power-up that enables me to run around enemies with a trail that when activated, unleashes a whip-like aura that deals damage to the enemy, This power-up would also come in handy when encountering a mini-boss a little later on in the demo. As the demo came to an end, I was teased with a classic Green Hill Zone level more reminiscent of Sonic Adventure, before the demo came to an abrupt end.
Sadly, there wasn’t all that much to say about Sonic Frontiers, despite being able to play the game from 10 to 15 minutes. What you’ve seen in the previously released gameplay trailers, is what I played in this demo.
I had concerns about the lack of meaningful content come to release and this demo has done little to ease those concerns. However, what I would say in the defence of Sonic Frontiers, is that it plays quite well and I never encountered any issues. That being said, the visuals weren’t all that great and I did notice some texture pop in.
WILL THE GAMBLE PAY OFF?
I was really hoping that getting to play Sonic Frontiers would make me feel a little more optimistic about its release and I suppose in some ways it has. However, I still worry about its release. Will Sonic Frontiers have the kind of depth that a game that looks to be inspired by Breath of the Wild needs?
Maybe the kinks will be ironed out come release and with some added context to Sonic’s new world, perhaps things will start clicking into place. To be fair, I have to give credit to the developers for taking a gamble by attempting to take this series in a new direction.
However, will that gamble pay off? Only time will tell. That being said, Sonic Frontiers releases a day before God of War Ragnarok and even a 24-hour head start might prove to be too much of an uphill task for SEGA’s speedy blue mascot.
Sonic Frontiers releases on November 8th for PC, PlayStation, Xbox as well as Nintendo Switch.
Featured Image Credit: SEGA/Sonic Team